Military Capabilities

Submarine emergency exposes Argentina’s serviceability limitations

23 November 2017

The search procedures triggered by the disappearance of the Argentine TR 1700-class submarine ARA San Juan , which went missing on 15 November, have revealed that several air and maritime platforms in Argentina’s inventory are currently out of service, with hollowed-out budgets leading to a lack of spares and maintenance and repair work becoming long overdue.

According to local military sources in Buenos Aires, the emergency found the Argentine Navy with all of its four P-3B maritime patrol aircraft (MPAs) unavailable after the last one serviceable was grounded in July after a check found cracks in its wings.

As a result, the only Argentine aircraft fitted with a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) and thus able to detect submarines underwater is currently a single S-2T Turbo Tracker, which was returned to service in 2016 after spending several years grounded.

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